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News October 27, 2015

2014 Art Music Award winners announced

Composers, performers and educators across contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music have had their achievements recognised at the 2014 Art Music Awards.

Hosted by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre, the ceremony was held at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom last night.

The Work of the Year: Orchestral Award went to James Ledger, whose violin concerto Golden Years was commissioned by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. The judges were won over by Ledger’s formidable writing for orchestra and solo violin, as well as the concerto’s inventive structure and instrumental colours.

Andrew Ford’s Last Words saw him take home the award for Work of the Year: Vocal/Choral. The work utilised last poems and deathbed utterances by writers and historical figures in order to create a beautiful and moving piece. Work of the Year: Instrumental went to Mary Finsterer for her ambitious and highly engaging large-scale piece, Aerea.

Also impressive was Paul Grabowsky’s Tall Tales, which saw him awarded in the Work of the Year: Jazz category. Tall Tales is a journey through three different types of musical language, the first of which as inspired by the Yolngu people of Northern Australia.

Performance of the Year was presented to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for Brett Dean’s the Last Days of Socrates. Conducted by Simone Young with soloist Peter Coleman-Wright, the complex 55-minute piece featured large choirs, impressive percussive elements and offstage musicians and vocalists.

The Australian Art Orchestra took home the Award for Excellence by an Organisation with their standout achievements in 2013. Diverse programs, cross-cultural collaborations and community engagement were some of the Orchestra’s commendable undertakings.

When it came to the Award for Excellence in Experimental Music, Perth composer Cat Hope was presented with the honour. The curator of the Dawn From Sound exhibition, Hope showcased Australian contemporary graphic notation practice as objects, videos, photographs, drawings, paintings, interactive programs and machines.

Cathy Aggett was the winner of this year’s Award for Excellence in Music Education for new Australian art songs for low voice, a project that resulted in 21 new works performed in concert at the XIX National ASME Conference in September 2013.

Award for Excellence in Jazz was given to Alister Spence and Myra Melford. The two combined their talents for Everything Here Is Possible, an improvisational piece on two grand pianos.

The evening featured performances curated by recorder virtuoso and Artistic Director Genevieve Lacey, including the Australian National Academy of Music Orchestra with Delyth Stafford accompanying finalists Nigel Westlake and Lior. Award-winner Paul Grabowsky teamed up with Gian Slater and the Invenio Singers, and Speak Percussion performed a dynamic rendition of Matthew Shlomowitz’s Popular Contexts Vol 6.  Neil Kelly and Michael Hewes took to the stage prior to concert pianist Tamara Anna Cislowska’s moving tribute to the late Peter Sculthorpe.

For the full list of winners, see below.

 Award for Excellence by an Organisation

Australian Art Orchestra for touring, community building, recording, creativity & leadership

 Award for Excellence by an Individual

Catherine Crock for The Hush Collection, Volumes 1-13

 Award for Excellence in Music Education

 Cathy Aggett for new Australian art songs for low voice

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

Goulburn Regional Conservatorium for The Goulburn Oratorio

Award for Excellence in Experimental Music

Cat Hope for Drawn From Sound exhibition

Award for Excellence in Jazz

Alister Spence and Myra Melford for Everything Here Is Possible

Distinguished Services to Australian Music

Richard Gill


Queensland State Award

Performer:      Camerata of St John’s with Natalie Weir and Expressions Dance Company

Title:                 When Time Stops

Composer:      Iain Grandage

Category:         Performance Of The Year

Victorian State Award

Arts Centre Melbourne for 5x5x5

           Category:         Excellence by an Organisation

West Australian State Award

Tura New Music for 2013 Program

Category:         Excellence by an Organisation

ACT State Award

Judith Clingan AM for “So Good A Thing” Festival, celebrating 50 Years of music making in Canberra

Category:         Excellence By An Individual

New South Wales State Award

Kim Waldock from Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Category:         Excellence In Music Education

South Australian State Award

Jason Sweeney for Stereopublic: Crowdsourcing the Quiet

Category:         Excellence In Experimental Music

Tasmanian State Award

Performer:      Michael Kieran Harvey

Title:                 Inferno

Composer:      Elliott Gyger

Category:         Performance Of The Year


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